The SLFVH is affiliated to the World Blind Union (WBU) and the Asian Blind Union (ABU). The 3rd General Assembly of the Asian Blind Union was held in Sri Lanka from 22nd to 25th June 1995. 17 delegates from 10 countries participated at this Assembly and several important and far reaching recommendations were made. Mr. R.A.Sirisena, who has been the General Secretary of our Federation since 1994, has served as the Hony. Treasurer of the ABU since 1992. The Secretariat of the ABU was maintained in Sri Lanka from 1997 February to 2000 December. In February 1997 the World Blind Union held a meeting of its officers at the Ceylon Inter-Continental Hotel, Colombo. This meeting was attended by 13 delegates.
The World Blind Union held the first meeting of its officers and elected at the 4th General Assembly in Toronto, Canada, at the Ceylon Inter-Continental Hotel Colombo on 13th and 14th February 1997. This meeting was attended by 13 delegates.
The National federation of the Blind in Sweden (SRF) is still supporting us through its umbrella organisation of the disabled - the SHIA Foundation.
They are a continuous source of guidance and inspiration and the two organisations, SHIA and SLFVH, collaborate on several interventions for the visually handicapped.
Initiatives are being made to establish links with the Christophel Blindenmission (CBM). They have shown interest to support a proposal for a Braille Book Production project and will be sending a representative for its appraisal in Sri Lanka.
Links with the International Conference
on Education for the Visually Impaired (ICEVI) are also maintained,
and the SLFVH was able to send Mr. R M H P Guneratne, the 2nd Vice President,
to attend the Conference held in Ahmadabad, India, in 2000.
The Visually Handicapped Trust Fund, established on a proposal made by the members of the SLFVH has shown considerable growth. At present the VHTF grants assistance for self-employment projects housing construction, repairs and scholarships for students. It received financial assistance to purchase instruments for the SLFVH music project. The benefits of this fund are derived by other organisations of the visually handicapped as well and thereby rendering a service to the entire visually handicapped community in this country.
The Ministry of Social Services, the Dept. of social Services and the Lions Movement and other social service organisations such as the Rehabilitation Centre for the disabled at Seeduwa, work closely with the Foundation in serving the visually handicapped community.
In regard to the contributions of the Private Sector, the Ceylinco Sarana Fund of the Ceylinco Group, made a dream come true in spearheading the fund raising for the construction of the new building for the SLFVH. This level of involvement of the Sarana Fund in the activities of the SLFVH is possible due to the close relationship between the Chairman Ceylinco Group of Companies, Deshamanya Lalith Kotelawala, and our President, Mr. E.M. Navaratne Banda JPUM.
The first Women’s Forum of the Federation was started in 1991. At the beginning several programmes were initiated to improve the living conditions of the visually handicapped women who are members of this forum. Under the guidance of the Asian Blind Union the Women’s Forum was given a new boost and in 1998 a workshop and seminar was held in New Delhi for the visually handicapped in SAARC countries. The current membership of the Forum is 180. Awarding scholarships to children of blind parents and granting assistance for self employment are some for the key activities of this forum. In 2002 a leadership training programme for blind women was held in Colombo with the sponsership of the ABU. In June The Women's forum conducted its own Leadership Training Programme for young blind women.
The Board of Control for Cricket is also an organisation that has been supportive of the SLFVH’s activities. For the first time in the history of blind cricket in Sri Lanka and all island limited over cricket tournament was conducted for visually handicapped players in 2000. Six teams participated in this event. Funds for this tournament were provided by the Ceylon Hardware Merchants Association.
The Rotary Club of Colombo West with funding from the Rotary Foundation and the Rotary Club of Orebro West, Sweden recently donated, to the Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped, a fully equipped Eye Clinic costing over Rs. 2 million.
The Eye Clinic located at the Federation head office at No. 74, Church Street, will cater to only the under privileged and school children.
This Clinic has computerized equipment to test eyes and the Sri Lanka Optometrists Association have kindly consented to operate this Clinic as from December 2002.
At present it is operated once a week with the assistance of Albert Edirisinghe Opticians.
According to the Federation President Mr. E.M. Navarathne
Banda they welcome any assistance from Volunteer Eye Specialists to
attend the Clinic on a regular basis to examine those with complicated
eye ailments so that these patients could then if necessary be directed
to Specialist care at Government Eye Hospitals.